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The Best Horror Movies To Watch If You Hate Gore

There's just something about a good horror flick with a compelling monster that gets the adrenaline pumping. But while there are plenty of people who enjoy being frightened in their spare time, it's understandable that other people wouldn't be down, especially considering there are so many horror films out there that rely on an excessive amount of blood and gore to freak viewers out. 

And that leaves some cinephiles in quite the predicament. They may want to add more titles to their personal horror filmography, but they don't know where to start. After all, they don't want to invest 30 minutes into a movie only to turn it off when a waterfall of blood and guts comes on the screen. Fortunately, there are plenty of great horror movies out there that don't rely on too much gore. The following films instead rely on building suspense or only hinting at how bad the monster is to terrify you. For people who faint at the first sign of blood, these horror flicks are for you. 

The Babadook pulls you in with suspense and dread

The Babadook was a breath of fresh air for horror fans when it was first released in 2014. After all, the titular monster serves up plenty of scares, but the film is equally terrifying for what it has to say about handling grief. Ultimately, The Babadook is about a mother and her son still dealing with the death of their husband/father, and that's a kind of horror many people can understand. But out of this depression comes a mysterious demon that has some very nasty plans for our grieving family. 

There's very little blood in The Babadook, but the film does know how to terrify you in other ways. There's a chilling moment where the mother tries to hide from the creature under the blankets, as so many of us tend to do, only this time ... it doesn't work. And sure, the film has its violent and upsetting moments, such as the young boy pushing a little girl out of a tree, but none of it is excessive. Instead, the film does a terrific job of scaring you with pertinent themes and a unique monster. This film should also earn some bonus points for not really relying on jump scares. The movie is more psychological and has a way of burrowing into your mind.

Creep finds a way to unsettle you without any gore

You know how people will tell you that you shouldn't buy or sell anything on Craigslist because you could meet up with a serial killer? Creep takes that idea and draws it out to its natural conclusion. It's a found-footage film, and that framing device actually works incredibly well for the story being told. Basically, a guy answers a Craigslist ad to film a man's everyday life as a kind of video journey. But he slowly begins to realize how unstable his subject is and looks for a way to get out.

The main reason why Creep is devoid of blood and gore is that the monster is ultimately just some guy. There's nothing supernatural at play. It's just one man who has some pretty significant issues going on. The movie does a superb job of ramping up the tension until the ultimate climax. And if you end up liking this movie, you'll be happy to hear that a sequel, Creep 2, exists, and it's every bit as scary and darkly funny as the first. 

It Follows uses sex to terrify you

Most horror fans can recognize the horror movie trope that if a person has sex, then he or she is going to die. It Follows takes that cliche and goes to town on it. In the film, a curse is spread through people having sex, and if you're last on the list, then a shape-shifting monster will continue following you until it kills you. It may function as a parable for STDs, but the film manages to find unique opportunities to make you jump in your seat.

Other than a gruesome yet quick opening scene, there's not a ton of blood. Instead, the scares come from not knowing where the monster is. After all, it could be anywhere and anyone. There are frequent shots that linger for longer than you would expect, and you realize that the monster may or may not be within the frame. The "not knowing" aspect is what's scariest of all, and it will leave you guessing what's going to happen until the very final shot

Insidious offers frights for adults

Insidious kicked off the 2010s with a bang when it delivered a hauntingly scary flick for a more mature audience. While a lot of people tend to view horror movies as something for teenagers, Insidious proved to be a thoughtful film that delivered scares in refreshingly terrifying ways. And it managed to do it without relying on a ton of gore.

A set of bloody handprints appear in the film, but there's nothing exceptionally gory if that tends to turn you off from horror films. Instead, the movie delivers some of the best jump scares of all time. The filmmakers also did an excellent job with the monster designs as a host of creepy figures pop up intermittently throughout the plot. Eventually, the movie takes you to an alternate universe where you're not sure if there are monsters hiding in the blackness. The film takes more primordial fears, such as shadows and darkness, and turns them into terrifying weapons that will shock you when you least expect it. Plus, you'll never hear "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" the same way again.

Gremlins scares and delights you simultaneously

If you tend to stick with comedies on your Friday nights, then we recommend dipping your toes into horror territory with the still delightfully entertaining movie, Gremlins. After all, it's pretty much a pop culture landmark. Even if you haven't seen the movie, you likely know the rules you have to follow. Don't get a Mogwai wet or feed it after midnight, or you'll have to contend with a horde of spooky monstrosities. 

Gremlins is definitely a horror movie, but it will make you laugh all the same. There's plenty of killing, but thankfully, none of it's bloody or gory. In fact, the killings tend to be more hilarious than anything else. Okay, granted, the scene where the mom takes on a couple of Gremlins in her kitchen is pretty icky, but it's so over the top that you can't really take it seriously. Besides that, when the Gremlins get busy on their murder spree, it's absolutely hilarious and a whole lot of fun. This is in contrast to an earlier version of the script that would've been a lot darker. It's a good thing some changes were made because now, the film makes for great alternative viewing every Christmas. 

The Birds delivers old-school scares without relying on gore

Alfred Hitchcock was a master of building suspense. Nowhere is that more evident than his 1963 masterpiece, The Birds. As you would expect from the title, the film follows a series of inexplicable bird attacks that take place in Bodega Bay, California. No explanation is given for why the birds behave this way, and that's part of the terror. There's no rhyme or reason. It's just pure terror, and even 60 years later, it still manages to freak out modern audiences. 

You see a little bit of blood from when the birds peck at people, but it's nothing excessive. That's not to say there aren't other horrifying images on display. There's one part where you see a man dead with his eyes completely pecked out, and the entire climactic showdown is a major nail-biter. For the most part, any violence is subdued because the camera pulls away before you really see anything. Much of the gore is implied, a similar tactic used for another great Hitchcockian thriller, Psycho. But while that slasher scared people away from showers, this one will keep you looking at the skies.

The Ring unsettles you to your core

The Ring is a remake of a 1998 Japanese horror film called Ringu. The movie follows a journalist investigating a videotape with a legend associated with it. The legend is that after you watch the tape, you'll die in seven days. And yeah, things get incredibly scary incredibly fast. In fact, one of the most famous images out of any horror film in the early 2000s was that (spoilers) videotape footage of Samara crawling out of the well. Much like Samara's powers, it etches itself into your mind to where you're thinking about it long after the movie is over.

Blood shows up in some water, and some people have nosebleeds. But that's about it as far as blood. However, there are plenty of other disturbing images that the film really doesn't need to overdo it on the gore, especially if freaky looking kids creep you out. It's eerie and disturbing, aided greatly by a superb soundtrack that prominently features rain falling, which really adds to the sense of dread found throughout the film.

The Orphanage is a creepy haunted house tale

Before J.A. Bayona directed Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, he made one of the creepiest films of the 2000s. A practically flawless horror filmThe Orphanage is a tense, unsettling haunted house movie about a mother and her son who move into the orphanage she grew up in before being adopted. However, she soon learns that ghosts are real when her son goes missing, and she has to enlist the help of parapsychologists to help her find him.

There are many things this film does well, but the main one is how perfectly it creates a haunting atmosphere. Every frame is so meticulously crafted, and you can see great artistry on display. There's not an overabundance of gore, but you may want to watch out for the car crash scene, which gets a little gruesome. Other than that, you won't find jump scares or loud noises to get a cheap shock out of you. The film focuses more on a general sense of foreboding and grimness while never losing sight of the characters and their arcs.

If you hate gore, then Don't Breathe will keep you on your toes

Fede Álvarez directed an incredibly gory horror movie with his 2013 remake of Evil Dead. For his follow-up, he specifically wanted to make something that would rely less on blood and more on suspense. The result was the creepy 2016 film Don't Breathe. The movie is about a group of delinquents who break into a blind man's house to steal his fortune. What they soon learn is that this man is harboring more than just a small fortune within the walls. He's out for blood, and now, he's on the warpath. 

The movie does a good job of keeping the blood to a minimum. There are a few spurts here and there, but it's nothing crazy. However, there is one scene that features a substantial amount of another bodily fluid. It's probably not the kind of thing you want to watch with your parents, but if you're in the mood for a different kind of horror thriller, then Don't Breathe is an underrated gem to check out.

The Wicker Man delves into folk horror but skips over the gore

Most people are probably more familiar with the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man over the original thanks to a particularly noteworthy scene involving Nic Cage and some bees. While the 1973 version has fewer opportunities to make memes, it offers a disturbingly prescient horror story about a police sergeant who goes to an island to search for a missing girl only to stumble upon its cultish inhabitants. 

It's rightfully considered one of the best horror films of all time, and it manages to accomplish that feat with really no blood. Even when violence does come into the picture, most of it is implied. The Wicker Man shows how you can do a lot with so little, by building dread and dropping hints that something horrible is slowly but surely coming. It's intriguing to watch the film today, especially how it's clearly influenced future movies like Midsommar. While there's no gore, there's a ton of nudity and sexual image, so make sure the kids are in bed before you put this film on.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is both fantastical and real

Invasion of the Body Snatchers remains an all-time classic thanks to its prescient storyline. The movie itself focuses on an alien threat that creates pod people who take the place of a town's citizens. On a much deeper level, the film serves as an allegory for McCarthyism that ran rampant throughout the 1950s in the United States. Even today, themes of losing one's personality and individualism are still entirely pertinent, and it's a must-watch for anyone who needs to see more of the classics.

The 1978 version is also excellent, and for some horror fans, that may be the version for them. There's not a ton of gore in either one, but the 1978 remake does have some body horror, which may not be suitable for the squeamish. The original is actually pretty tame, and you probably won't have to cover your eyes even once while watching it. However, it will make you a little nervous about what your neighbors are up to.

The Blair Witch Project is the perfect psychological horror flick for people who hate gore

When The Blair Witch Project came out in 1999, it changed what horror cinema would be like for the next decade. The found-footage aspect, along with casting unknowns as the actors, was revolutionary at the time and made the film feel like it could've been real. As for the plot, the film follows a group of filmmakers who head out into the woods to uncover the legend of the Blair Witch. But soon, they find themselves lost in the wilderness, and it seems like something supernatural might be stalking them.

The film manages to extrapolate on your worst fears without really showing much. There's not a ton of gore to speak of, even though the film does have characters describe grisly deaths. What makes the film so scary is that it weaponizes your imagination and makes your mind fill in the gaps of what you don't see on the screen. It's an intriguing experiment in psychological horror, in part because a lot of people thought it was real when it first came out. There probably won't be any other film like this any time soon.